8 Lucky Lunar New Year Wine & Food Pairings
8 Lucky Lunar New Year Wine & Food Pairings

Here are the best pairings to celebrate ‘The Year of the Rabbit’!

Across the globe, more than one billion people are gearing up to celebrate 2023 ‘The Year of the Rabbit’ for the Lunar New Year. The rabbit in Chinese culture represents hope and a long-lived life. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are considered gentle and approachable and have a decent, noble and elegant manner.

The Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year, is a chance to rekindle traditions, travel home, reunite and feast with your family.  As one of the largest annual migrations in the world, the rituals celebrated vary across all of Asia, with the common theme of ‘prosperity’ in light of the New Year ahead.

We have highlighted a few of our favourite dishes with cultural significance for the New Year, with our Good Pair Days wine team offering a bit more insight as to why these wines can be shared with these heritage foods. If you are preparing any of these dishes for family and friends this New Year, we hope you can garner a few ‘new’ wine pairing ideas! Gong Xi Fa Cai, everyone, wishing you lots of happiness, wine and ‘little red packets’!

Pairing: Traditional Method Sparkling

Why it works: Yusheng is literally one of the messiest and most fun celebratory dishes in the world (!) An incredibly colourful dish of shredded vegetables and many types of fresh raw sashimi, eating yusheng is one of the only times of the year where it is acceptable to throw your food high in the air! It’s every bit as fun as sabering Champagne or popping the cork loudly on a Traditional Method Sparkling! You’ll be wanting to splash around and ‘toss to good fortune and toast to good health’ with your fanciest bottle of bubbles.

Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc

Why it works: Sauvignon Blanc always bursts with citrus. Just like a squeeze of lemon juice on a fresh salad, a good crisp Sauv Blanc can offer the same kind of zing to a lucky golden spring roll. Whether your ‘bars of gold’ are prepared fresh or fried, the flavour spectrum of Sauv; lime, white grapefruit, kiwi and the distinct herbaceousness (including jalapeño) work perfectly together. Plus, Sauv is never afraid of a little chilli heat.

Pairing: Rosé

Why it works: Rosé is one of the most visually appealing wines to enjoy. The colour pink itself symbolises love and happiness, and Rosé ranges from pale ‘onion skin’ to ‘salmon’ to even ‘flamingo’ pink. Like an unbroken noodle for longevity, sharing the perfect Rosé is itself an act of love and happiness.

Pairing: Riesling

Why it works: Riesling offers refreshing acidity and clean flavours that dumplings love to dance with — especially if there's a touch of sweetness! You can easily judge a good dumpling house by its wine list. If the restaurant has an epic Riesling selection, then you know you’ve found a winning spot. Dumplings and Riesling are a winning match.

Pairing: Albariño

Why it works: Albariño is a ‘maritime’ grape variety, grown in the Galician region of Spain. If you’ve heard the expression ‘what grows together, goes together’ you’ll understand the concept here; Albariño is grown near the ocean, and much like fish, they are from a similar environment. They are meant to be together. Albariño is a crisp, white wine, and not overly fruity nor heavy. It has wonderful natural acidity yet is often medium-bodied, not too ‘thin’ nor too ‘heavy’, so it’s great in handling oiliness in a dish without overpowering the delicate flavours of steamed fish.

Pairing: Creamy Oaked Chardonnay

Why it works: You’ve got to eat Nian Gao warm… before it becomes too cold and too sticky. Pairing it with a textural, creamy Chardonnay served at the right temperature (around 12 degrees, so, not too cold) will enhance the natural umami character of warm, nutty glutinous rice. A flavour-filled and fabulous pairing.

Pairing: Moscato

Why it works: Good fortune fruits – whatever you may be gifted or give to the young, tangerine, mandarin, pomegranate, cumquat… you can share them happily with Moscato. Classically low in alcohol, sweet and holding a light spritz on the palate, it's a fun frivolous and festive wine you can share at almost any time of the day. Yep, breakfast included.

Pairing: Dessert Wine

Why it works: The key to pairing with sweet dishes like sweet rice balls, is to make sure the wine is either as sweet or sweeter than the dish. Otherwise, if your sweet dish contains a higher sugar content than the wine, it will make the tasting experience astringent and bitter. We best suggest a luscious, sticky and sweet dessert wine and let the flavours shine! YOLO.

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